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OTHER NAMES Employee Termination Letter Employee Termination Form Employment Termination Form Pink Slip Letter to Fire an Employee Separation Notice

What is a Termination Letter?

As an employer, you'd rather think about hiring than firing, but sometimes employment terminations are a necessary part of business. Create an Employee Termination Letter to explain why you're ending an individual's employment, and outline other details about the termination. The Termination Letter is your written record to help protect you if any questions or legal issues arise regarding the termination.

When to use a Termination Letter:

  • You're an employer who needs to terminate an employee because of layoffs, poor performance or some other reason.
  • Your company is terminating an employee, and would like to have a record of the termination in the event of a lawsuit.

Sample Termination Letter

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Dear :


Your employment with will be officially terminated on .


You have been terminated for the following reason:


Our records indicate that you were late to work times in . Our records indicate that you were absent from work times in . Our records indicate that you were late to work times in and absent from work times in . You have shown poor performance in your duties as a . You have not successfully executed the duties for which you were hired. As our business depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of our work force, we have decided to terminate your employment. We have decided to implement a work force reduction and your position has been eliminated.

Our records indicate you received verbal warning(s) and written warning(s) about your work performance.


Verbal warning(s): ,

Written warning(s): ,


We ask that you return the following company property by :



You will will not receive payment for the remaining balance of leave pay you have accumulated. You will be paid in severance pay. Your health care benefits will remain effective for days. Your health care benefits will no longer be effective on the date of termination. You may contact about transferring your . Your final check will be in the amount of . You may pick up your final paycheck from on . Your final paycheck will be mailed to your address on file. Your final paycheck will be delivered in person by with/at the same time as this letter.


If you want to appeal this termination decision, you may do so by taking the following steps:



Please review the non disclosure agreement you signed upon hiring. According to this agreement, you are not permitted to disclose any company trade secrets, practices, or methods of operation. is entitled to take legal action if it is revealed that you disclosed trade secrets during or after employment.



You may elect to participate in an exit interview conducted by , . This interview will be conducted at at , .


I would be happy to write a recommendation letter for your employment search. Please contact me if you would like me to forward you a recommendation letter. I wish you luck in finding new employment.




Termination Letter Checklist



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___Sign this document. This document needs to be signed by:



Deliver a copy of the Termination Letter to the employee in person. If you are not able to deliver the letter in person, send it by certified mail to the employee's last known address on file.


___Everyone gets a copy. Anyone named in the document should receive a copy of the signed document.



Important Details


Sign the Letter and attach the enclosures, if applicable.


Keep a copy of all documents for your own records and in case there is a problem.


Deliver copies to human resources or other employment offices as necessary.


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Termination Letter FAQs

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  • When should I use a Termination Letter?

    • You're an employer who needs to terminate an employee because of layoffs, poor performance or some other reason.
    • Your company is terminating an employee, and would like to have a record of the termination in the event of a lawsuit.
  • How do I write a Termination Letter?

    Letting go of an employee can be a relief, or in the case of a forced layoff, it can be very difficult. But being a professional means putting the notice of employment termination in writing. Let the employee know why the decision's being made and what both of your responsibilities are.

    Here's what you'll need to include in your Termination Letter:

    Basic information: Note who is being terminated, the name of the company, and the name of the person who is handling the cessation of work. You'll also want to include the date, both of the letter of separation and the date the termination becomes effective, if those dates are different.

    Reason for employee termination: As noted above, sometimes, a termination is out of your control. You may be an HR manager, forced to lay off an otherwise productive employee because the business is going through a rough patch. On the other hand, you might be firing an employee for verbal abuse, excessive tardiness, or poor performance. With a Termination Letter, your employee will get a better understanding of why they're being let go.

    Lead up: If you are terminating an employee for reasons under their control, make sure to note whether they were warned, how many times, and whether those warning were verbal, written, or both.

    Company property: Whether it's a laptop you provided, a company car, or just a key card, chances are your employee has something that belongs to the company. Of course, in some cases of employee termination, certain property is given as a perk of employment. Make sure you note if you'll be asking for property back.

    Vacation time and final paycheck: If your employee has accrued vacation time, chances are you're required to pay them for what they've accrued. But laws vary and, if you're dealing with a contractor or part-time employee, you may not have to pay out for vacation or sick leave.

    What you will have to do is pay your employee what they're owed. Include what date they'll be paid through and how they'll receive their last paycheck: in person, by mail, or direct deposit. It's often smart to pay your employee then, so that when the Termination Letter is signed, employment is officially over.

    Health insurance, 401K, and other benefits: If you've provided benefits like health insurance or retirement savings, make sure your employee knows how this will be handled, and that it is outlined in the termination letter. Provide them with information about continuing their health insurance and when it runs out. Let them know where their savings are. Your work relationship may be over, but your employee still has a future. Giving them this information up front will make their transition much easier.

  • Do employers have to give a reason for employment termination?

    Before terminating an employee, it is important that you review your employment agreement, employee handbook and any other HR policy to clearly understand your legal responsibilities as the employer—specifically whether or not you are obligated to terminate the employee with just cause, such as misconduct or poor performance.

    Termination at will vs. termination for cause: Unless state law or your employment contract say otherwise, employment is generally at-will, meaning that employees can quit or be terminated with or without a specific reason or any advance notice/compensation. If you have questions about your reasons for terminating an employee, talk to an attorney .

  • Are Employers Required to Provide a Notice of Termination (Termination Letter)?

    While many employment relationships are "at-will", there are some instances where a notice of termination may be required, including if the employee is covered by a union or collective bargaining agreement. If you are unsure about what requirements apply to your situation, ask a lawyer .

  • How can I avoid wrongful termination?

    Even if you are terminating an at-will employee, there are still precautions to be taken to avoid wrongful termination, that is, firing someone for an illegal reason. In addition to laying out the terms of employment in an Employment Contract , employers should also consider outlining your expectations in an Employee Handbook , documenting and enforcing your company's disciplinary policy, as well as maintaining proper records of disciplinary actions taken in the employee's HR file.

  • What other documents might be helpful for businesses or HR professionals?

    If you're issuing a Termination Letter, you may find yourself needing other employment documents. Here are some to get you started:

    If you have any questions about what's right for you and your business as it relates to termination law, we can connect you with a lawyer for quick answers or a review of your Letter of Termination.

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